Posted in Prompts, Short Assignments

What You Leave Behind

“Come along now darling, keep up, keep up.”

“I’m coming mama.”

Sunlight shined through the gaps in the leaves. Thin columns of warm light illuminated the forest with a faint glow of gold. Grass whipped as the two blurs of fur ran across the forest floor. Over twigs and under elevated roots they went, until they reached a rather large tree.

“Mama, I’m tired, can we stop now?”

“Now now darling, we’re almost there. Come now.”

A huff and the young one followed his mother up the tree. Bark chipped and fell to the ground until the two rested on a branch, able to see their home sitting nicely in another tree not to far from their current one.

“We’re almost there darling, nice deep breaths” his mother coached, scampering down the tree trunk.

She reached the forest floor.

Whoosh!

The creaking of a tree branch, the rustling of leaves.

Freeze.

She turned her head and looked up.

Panic.

Claws dug into the bark with feverish ferocity, and she climbed.

She reached the limb.

Tiny patches of fur.

Specks of blood gleamed in the column of light that touched it.

Silence filled the air. Her eyes were focused like an archer’s pulling back his bowstring.

She felt her bones would break if she attempted any movement.

“Darling” she asked the forest, her voice barely audible, even to herself.

“Come along now my love.

We’ve got to be going.”

A brook babbled nearby.

via Daily Prompt: Scamper

Posted in Short Assignments

Break Up

“Ya know, this is actually pretty nice.” At least the first sentence spoken between the two of them since a week ago was a positive one. They had agreed to meet at his house. Though she had simply sent him a text saying ‘I’m coming over’. He didn’t have much say in the matter.

The front porch and driveway consisted of the same building material, cement with small rounded stones sticking out; It wasn’t the most comfortable thing to sit on.

Sunlight was shining brightly overhead and heat came along with it, naturally; the sun is wonderful at its job, someone should give it a medal. A faint summer breeze rolled through. The leaves on the tress and the longer blades of grass shuffled as if they were about to be tickled.

She didn’t reply with traditional words. A scoff was all she managed. She hated the summer. She hated how, if you were feeling too hot, there was only a limited amount of clothes you could remove before giving up and just being miserable and naked. She hated the bugs and the ice cream truck that slowly crawled through the neighborhood; but most of all, she hated the very essence of summer. She didn’t like to see everything alive and thriving. Winter, now winter she liked.

The young man knew that the awkwardness had to slowly be peeled away. These things took time. “Did ya know that it’s supposed to get up to ninety-five degrees today” he asked, adding a little extra enthusiasm to hopefully coax her out.

“I hope we all melt” she replied flatly, not bothering to look at him.

The young man let out a small sigh and turned his head to look out into the front yard. Several birds had gathered beneath the single tree that stood in front of the house. Light chirping filled the silence that had formed between the two.

He could feel the discomfort growing. This heavy, toxic sludge that was slowly creeping up the stairs of the porch and enveloping the two of them individually. The chirping of the birds was growing louder and more shrill as the seconds ticked. More and more birds seemed to fly down to join the small group that had already formed; some of them fluttered into the tree branches.

He couldn’t take his eyes off of them. The growing mass of birds seemed to be something out of a horror movie. It was like some kind of omen that had appeared and was to warn the hero of impending doom.

He hadn’t noticed that she had stood up. His heart was racing, eyes darting around trying to capture every detail of the phenomenon.

She lit up a cigarette, took a drag, and quickly blew the smoke out. “Fuck this” she said, frustration oozing from her voice. Black, booted feet clopped down the stone steps and carried her past an empty yard, a barren tree.

Copper wind chimes clanged gently above the young man.

They were his only solace.

Posted in Short Assignments

Sunday Morning Church

Tired morning air and bagged eyes fill the main area of the church. Sun beams peek through clouds and shiny, globule dew drops sit peacefully on nature and machine. I stand, dressed in a white button up, black pants, and black dress shoes. I dawned a tie as well, that was dads. It was too big.

My parents stood on either side of my sister and I, making sure that all of our belongings were positioned correctly in the pew. My sister was younger than me, around three or four. As young children do, if they are without attention for more than one second they believe that the world is crumbling around them. She began to beat on the wooden seat of the pew. I suppose she enjoyed the echo it created. My mother was quick to put a stop to her. “Abigail, we are in church, behave yourself.” She whispered in a tone of voice that would send fear down any child’s spine.

My father adjusted his tie. He did this when he wanted to brush off unwanted or unnecessary emotions that seemed to be bubbling to the surface.

Abigail returned fire. “Can we go home now” she asked in, what I always believe is, a forced and whiny tone. Her face was beet red with frustration and the scowl on her forehead spoke simply. ‘I want to be anywhere but here’ it would probably say if the flat, front, upper part of her face had a mouth of its own.

My mother, a very calculated woman, responded “No, we can go home once mass is over. Just sit down and be still.”

I turned back to look at my father. I didn’t think he’d taken his eyes off of the large marble altar in the front since we arrived. Most young boys look up to their fathers, both metaphorically and physically. I loved my dad to be sure but, even at that young age, I knew that there was some kind of disconnect. I didn’t know how deep that valley would run until much later in my life.

As if hearing my thoughts telepathically he reached his hand up and laid it atop my head, ruffling my hair a little. Mom was going to kill him, they’d spent the better part of the morning making sure that we kids looked halfway decent. His hand slid down to my small back and there he gave me a few strong pats, making me lurch forward a little with each impact.

Organ music began to erupt from the speakers and we all turned to face the double doors that opened behind us. The priest, deacon, and altar boys began to walk towards the pristine looking alter down the split in the middle of the church. My parents picked up the little books from wooden slots that hung on the back of the  previous pews back rest. I watched them flip through the pages, my mother starting to sing and my father humming along. My sister on the other hand, was covering her ears, that scowl still prominently displayed on her face.